Petition for a statue commemorating Patyegarang
Join Councillor Yvonne Weldon and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council's call for the City of Sydney to commission an Aboriginal artist to design a statue of Patyegarang commemorating her role in preserving the language of Sydney’s first people. Sign below!
Walking around Sydney, it’s impossible to avoid monuments to and reminders of colonial rule. In fact, there are more than two dozen statues around the city centre commemorating colonial figures such as Captain Cook, Governors Phillip and Macquarie, Queen Victoria, explorer Matthew Flinders and even his cat Trim.
Sadly, the erasure of First Nations history, culture and perspectives is reflected in the public domain. There is not a single publicly funded statue commemorating a First Nations person in the City of Sydney. This imbalance in representation is unacceptable.
Two years ago, at the peak of the Black Lives Matter protests and as statues of the most barbaric colonial figures were being pulled down abroad, representatives of the local Aboriginal community respectfully requested that the Council help erect a statue commemorating Patyegarang as a significant individual in Sydney’s First Nations history.
Patyegarang was just 15 years old when she met First Fleet naval officer Lieutenant William Dawes and became his guide and language teacher. Dawes recorded their conversations and his notebooks are the only known first-hand accounts of the Gadigal language. Patyegarang’s tremendous display of courage and trust in Dawes resulted in a gift of cultural knowledge back to her people almost 200 years later.
In recent years, the City of Sydney has adopted Patyegarang’s Gadigal language for place naming initiatives and on entry signs at local parks ‘Bujari Gammarua’. It is only right that we acknowledge her publicly! Unfortunately, when last raised in a Council meeting, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and her team were unsupportive and ultimately obstructive.
We must move forward! Now, as an elected representative of the City of Sydney and with the backing of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, I intend to again call on the Lord Mayor and my fellow councillors to commission an Aboriginal artist to design a statue of Patyegarang commemorating her role in preserving the language of Sydney’s first people.
I invite you to show your support by signing this petition and walking with my people as we embark on a journey of truth-telling and learning.